Adobe’s Portable Document Format

Download Acrobat Reader! Portable Document Format files, also called Adobe Acrobat files, are files in a special format that allows you to view and print their contents on any kind of computer, with any kind of monitor or printer. Viewing documents in this format requires that you have the Adobe Acrobat reader installed; it is free, and it is available for just about any type of computer. If you don’t already have it, you can download it by clicking on the logo above—it’s worth the time it takes to download. Once you have it installed, you can display PDF files directly and automatically in your browser (Internet Explorer or Netscape), and also open them and view them directly on your PC.

Since Adobe Systems Incorporated developed this format, it has gained a great deal of popularity on the Web. Many companies and organizations use it to distribute documents like catalogs, specifications, essays and papers, and forms. Even the United States Government uses PDF files on many of its web sites to distribute official goverment documentation.

I like PDF files because you see documents exactly as they were originally composed. For a really good example of this, take a look at the Los Angeles Times’ Web site for its Washington Edition, where you can download the latest edition of the paper in PDF format. It looks just like the real thing!


Converting PDF to Wallpaper

If you have a PC running Windows, you can convert a page from a PDF file to wallpaper. To explain how this is done, you can try using my Nellis AFB sign as an example. Follow the instructions below:

  1. Click on the link leading to the PDF file with the right mouse button and the Save Target As… menu item in Internet Explorer, or the Save Link As… menu item in Netscape Navigator.
  2. Save the PDF file somewhere convenient on your PC. A temporary directory will do, if you don’t need the PDF for anything other than wallpaper.
  3. Double-click on the PDF file from within Explorer or File Manager to open it.
  4. In the Adobe Acrobat program, find the page you want (the one and only page, in this example), press the move the mouse to the View menu, and select Full Screen. The page will fill the entire screen.
  5. Press the Print Screen key (Prt Scr) on your keyboard. This will copy the contents of the screen to the Windows clipboard.
  6. Press ESC to get out of full-screen mode.
  7. Open the graphics program of your choice (use Windows Paintbrush), and paste the contents of the clipboard into a new file. Save it as a BMP in your Windows system directory.
  8. Use the Control Panel Display applet to install this BMP as your wallpaper.
This should work on all versions of Windows, although memory can be a problem on the old Windows 3.1. I have managed to spook quite a few people at the office with the Nellis wallpaper. It keeps the cleaning people a respectful distance from my PC at night; I guess it just has that special cachet that seems to whisper GO AWAY.
Various Documents

Last modified on Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 14:00:19 UTC
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